Baylor vs Iowa State football: Previewing the Bears defense


Baylor is obviously known for their offensive firepower, but it was the defense that paved the way toward a lot of that success last year. It let them down at times, especially on the road, and Iowa State will hope that the defense playing away from Waco will make them struggle.

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That, and them taking advantage of a young secondary.

Defensive line

Oakman isn’t a beefy lineman, but his tall figure makes him incredibly hard to keep him from getting to the quarterback. He’s so powerful and easily the guy to focus on at the line. He had 5 tackles, 2 of them for a loss, and a sack while also tagging the QB last season against the Cyclones.

So far this year, Oakman leads the team in tackles for loss (4) and sacks (3). He won’t be the only guy that will be able to get to the QB…


Aug 31, 2014; Waco, TX, USA; Baylor Bears cornerback Xavien Howard (4) intercepts a pass intended for Southern Methodist Mustangs wide receiver Darius Joseph (18) during the first half at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

MLB: Bryce Hager (#44, 6-2, 235 lbs, Sr)

  • NB: Collin Brence (#38, 6-0, 210 lbs, Sr)
  • Brence currently leads the team with four QB hits and has made a huge impact on the defense early in his senior campaign. He has 10 total tackles (assists) in three games — he had 9 in his first three seasons combined at Baylor. That’s because he was mostly found during special teams duties.

    Of course, we can’t talk about the linebacker corps without mentioning Bryce Hager. He leads the Bears with 19 total tackles (8 assists). He’s also recorded 2 TFLs, deflected a pass, and has forced one of the team’s four forced fumbles.

    Hager is on four CFB award watch lists and has been a two-time All-Big 12 linebacker. So far, it doesn’t look like he’s missed a step since recovering from his groin injury.


    Baylor can be beaten in the air; their 14th-ranked pass defense nationally benefits the young secondary (three sophomores are projected to start) that hasn’t been tested against three creampuffs. That being said, it can’t be taken lightly.

    Howard’s name hasn’t been brought up enough. Right now he leads the team with five pass deflections and has the team’s only two interceptions so far. The sophomore is fast and has evolved as a starter after playing on special teams last year. Any receiver that becomes his assignment must be fully aware that he’ll play offense and try to catch the ball just as much as said receiver.